US 7765422 B2 Abstract In the method of determining a time offset estimate between a central node and a secondary node, the central node receives downlink and uplink timing information from a secondary node. The downlink and uplink timing information are measured based on a periodic timing scale. The downlink timing information represents timing information for communication between the central node and the secondary node, and the uplink timing information represents timing information for communication from the secondary node to the central node. The central node compensates the timing information for time wraparound, and determines the time offset estimate based on the compensated timing information.
Claims(10) 1. A method of determining a time offset estimate between a central node and a secondary node, comprising:
receiving, at a central node, downlink and uplink timing information from a secondary node, the downlink and uplink timing information based on a periodic timing scale, the downlink timing information representing timing information for communication from the central node to the secondary node and the uplink information representing timing information for communication from the secondary node to the central node;
converting the received downlink and uplink timing information to a continuous time scale; and
determining, only after the converting step, a time offset estimate between the central node and the secondary node based on the converted downlink and uplink timing information.
2. The method of
3. The method of
measuring, at the central node, a fourth time of receiving the uplink frame; and wherein
the converting step converts the first, second, third and fourth times to a continuous time scale.
4. The method of
determining uplink and downlink delay indicators based on the converted first, second, third and fourth times; and
calculating the time offset estimate based on the uplink and downlink delay indicators.
5. The method of
the determining uplink and downlink delay indicators step is performed for a plurality of first, second, third and fourth time sets; and
the calculating step calculates the time offset estimate based on the plurality of uplink and downlink delay indicators.
6. The method of
determining a minimum uplink delay indicator and a minimum downlink delay indicator from the plurality of uplink and downlink delay indicators; and
calculating the time offset estimate based on the minimum downlink delay indicator and the minimum uplink delay indicator.
7. The method of
sending a downlink frame to the secondary node, the downlink frame including a first time measured at the central node indicating when the downlink frame is sent; and wherein
the receiving step receives an uplink frame at the central node, the uplink frame includes the first time, a second time measured at the secondary node of receiving the downlink frame, a third time measured at the secondary node of sending the uplink frame.
8. The method of
setting a timer at a start of the method; and
stopping the method if the timer times out.
9. The method of
compensating the time offset estimate for DC bias errors.
10. The method of
Description 1. Field of the Invention The present invention relates to a method of determining a time offset estimate between a central node and a secondary node; particularly, where the nodes have periodic local timing. 2. Description of Related Art Clock synchronization is an extremely important problem for networks and systems with distributed resources. In many cases, network nodes need to have their clocks synchronized to a common reference known as Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), simply denoted as “t”. One way of achieving this goal is to use clock radio receivers of satellite-based systems such as the Global Positioning System (GPS). In situations where GPS is unavailable or cannot be utilized, different nodes of the network will set their own local timings as a totally random function of the UTC time “t”. Node synchronization then becomes a problem of “finding out” or “estimating” the differences or offsets between local node timing references. Node synchronization is a problem of prime importance in many systems (e.g., the Internet, wireless network systems, etc). And, the problem of node synchronization is particularly acute in networks that have nodes with periodic local timing. In the method of estimating a time offset between a central node and a secondary node, the central node and the secondary node communicate to generate timing information. In one embodiment, control frames are sent between the central node and the secondary node to generate the timing information. In this embodiment, the timing information includes the time the central node sends a downlink control frame to the secondary node as measured at the central node, the time the secondary node receives the downlink control frame as measured at the secondary node, the time the secondary node sends an uplink control frame to the central node as measured at the secondary node, and the time the central node receives the uplink control frame as measured at the central node. The central and secondary nodes operate on a periodic time scale, and the possibility of time wraparound exists. Time wraparound at the central node is where the time the central node receives the uplink control frame is less than the time the central node sent the downlink control frame because the periodic timer of the central node expired and began recounting between the sending of the downlink control frame and the receipt of the uplink control frame. Time wraparound at the secondary node can happen in a similar fashion. In the method of estimating a time offset, the timing information is compensated for time wraparound. In one embodiment, the compensation is performed by converting the timing information to a continuous time scale. Then, using the timing information, the time offset estimate is determined. The present invention will become more fully understood from the detailed description given herein below and the accompanying drawings, which are given by way of illustration only, and thus are not limitative of the present invention, and wherein: To provide a clear understanding of the invention, terminology used in describing the invention will be defined and defined in a contextual environment. Specifically, periodic local time mapping relations for node synchronization will be discussed, followed by a discussion of node synchronization objectives and applications. Then, a node synchronization control frames and the concept of time wraparound will be discussed. Next, the method of determining a time offset estimate according to the present invention will be described in detail. The local timings of the central node R and the secondary nodes B RFT(t+T _{f})=RFT(t) (1)BFT _{i}(t)=h _{res}[(t−t _{BFNi)} mod t _{f} ]+BFN _{i} *t _{f} BFT _{i}(t+T _{f})=BFT _{i}(t) (2)where h _{res}(t)=0, Δ_{res}, 2*Δ_{res}, . . . , t_{f}−Δ_{res }is a staircase function defined within t=[0, t_{f}) with resolution Δ_{res }which divides t_{f}, such that Δ_{res}<<t_{f}. For example, 3GPP currently sets a value of Δ_{res}=0.125 ms, hence {RFT, BFT_{i}}=0, Δ_{res}, 2*Δ_{res}, . . . T_{f}−Δ_{res}, such that an RFT or BFT_{i }time stamp can be contained and represented in 3 bytes. The time epochs t_{RFN }and t_{BFNi }define the initial central node and secondary node frame boundary, respectively (see Next the time offsets between RFT and BFT RFT(t)BFT _{i}(t−X _{i}) (3)By defining, X′ _{i}=(BFN_{i}−RFN)*t_{f}+(t_{RFN}−t_{BFNi}), the time offset X_{i }can be adjusted within [−T_{f}/2, T_{f}/2) as follows:
In the previous analysis, it was assumed that all nodes R, B have the same time resolution Δ - 1. System Start:
Time offsets arise because of possibly uncoordinated system start times for all nodes and the associated random setting of the initial phase and frame number of each node. After the RNC is started, it shall detect, in time, the start of each node B - 2. System Restart:
If the RNC is intentionally or accidentally restarted during normal operation, it has to re-estimate time offsets for all corresponding node B - 2. Frequency Drift in Normal Operation:
Even though it has been assumed that there is no main frequency skew, frequency drift for the RNC or any node B It should be understood that no clock offset adjustment is needed or performed by the central node R or any secondary node B. In all the above scenarios, the central node R is responsible for evaluating the estimate {circumflex over (X)} Having evaluated the time offset estimates, an RNC as the central node R can use such information for several important applications such as perform BFT Furthermore, the uses of the time off-set estimation methodology of the present invention are not limited to 3GPP applications, but could be used with any nodal network structure such as the internet, asynchronous transfer mode (ATM) satellite networks, etc. The method of estimating the time offset between the central node R and a secondary node B according to the present invention operates based on timing information measured at the central node R and the secondary node B. One method for obtaining this timing information involves the sending of control frames between the central node R and the secondary node B. The signaling concept of these control frames is shown in It should be understood that obtaining the timing information is not limited to the control frame methodology just described. In order to further understand the principle and present the main contributions of the invention, some preliminary analysis to explain time wraparound and the time offset estimate calculation while still referring to Next, the DL and UL delay indicators will be defined as follows:
Then, in step S Next, in step S However, processing proceeds to step S After step S After step S Returning to
As will be appreciated, the time offset estimated determined according to the present invention compensates for time wraparound by, in part, converting the periodic timing information to a continuous time scale. Furthermore, delay differences are filtered out across an appropriate sampling population; the sampling population being a design parameter varying with the network to which the present invention is applied. If the actual minimum DL and UL delays exhibit a certain difference ΔT Problems in performing the method of the present invention can also be detected by the secondary node B and the central node R. For example, when the time offset estimate process begins, the secondary node B starts a count down timer. If the timer expires before the end of the process in the middle of receiving/transmitting the plurality of the UL/DL control frames, the secondary node B reports a failure in the time offset estimate process to the central node R. At the central node R, the central node R starts a count down timer when the DL control frame is sent. If the UL control frame is not received before this timer expires, the central node discards the sample and resumes processing at step S The invention being thus described, it will be obvious that the same may be varied in many ways. Such variations are not to be regarded as a departure from the spirit and scope of the invention, and all such modifications are intended to be included within the scope of the following claims. Patent Citations
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